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Old 05-11-2018, 01:28 PM   #1
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Too much rust?

A school bus has come available that is cheap - $1000 - but I'm worried it has too much rust. The bus is only 14 years old but the school district stopped using it because of the rust. They say the rust hasn't gone entirely through the outer panels, just the surface, but it makes me worried that there could be rust elsewhere.

Has anyone ever bought a bus with rust like this (or know anyone who has) and what was your experience?
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Old 05-11-2018, 01:32 PM   #2
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Having messed with some rust on buses, IMO- that's way too rusty to start with.
Even if you know bodywork etc its still not worth the extra time and effort to try and save that one.
Just my opinion.

That's not surface rust, that's rust.
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Old 05-11-2018, 01:37 PM   #3
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There is rust other places. For sure.

That being said it depends what you want to do with it and how good you are at body work. That's way too much for me I'd rather pay more and save the weeks of labor, but if you are short on money and long on time and skill....

The transportation company by me regularly replaces whole sections of body on their buses due to rust. They don't fix the floor or joists they get rid of it. You may want to check, the floor may be falling out.
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Old 05-11-2018, 01:40 PM   #4
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From the bottom of a noob heart

Unless you find the IDEAL bus with all your desired specs + low price.
Why would you buy a rusty bus ???
These big buses sell daily, just spend some time monitoring at the auction sites (if you are not in a hurry) and you will find a nicer one.
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Old 05-11-2018, 01:43 PM   #5
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I don't know where you are but that looks like some Wisconsin level rust.

Everything here looks like that
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Old 05-11-2018, 01:47 PM   #6
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I'm in Canada where they salt the roads due to snow, so most of the buses here are somewhat rusty. Sucks but true. But yeah, the one I'd originally looked at through the same company had minor rust. This seemed like too much to me too.
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Old 05-11-2018, 01:49 PM   #7
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There is rust other places. For sure.

That being said it depends what you want to do with it and how good you are at body work. That's way too much for me I'd rather pay more and save the weeks of labor, but if you are short on money and long on time and skill....

The transportation company by me regularly replaces whole sections of body on their buses due to rust. They don't fix the floor or joists they get rid of it. You may want to check, the floor may be falling out.
They told me that Freightliner uses thinner metal on the body, which is why the panels are rusty, but that they have to meet the same standards as other makers with the bottom metal. I dunno.
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Old 05-11-2018, 01:49 PM   #8
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I'm in Canada where they salt the roads due to snow, so most of the buses here are somewhat rusty. Sucks but true. But yeah, the one I'd originally looked at through the same company had minor rust. This seemed like too much to me too.
If you were already planning on re-skinning the whole rear and doing a delete of the door AND you can confirm there's no major rust to structural components, it might be worth it. Otherwise, I think it's best to leave this one to rot.
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Old 05-11-2018, 01:49 PM   #9
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I'm in Canada where they salt the roads due to snow, so most of the buses here are somewhat rusty. Sucks but true. But yeah, the one I'd originally looked at through the same company had minor rust. This seemed like too much to me too.
Redd is up in Canada. If you're anywhere near him maybe he could tell you where to find a bus that's not so rusty.
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Old 05-11-2018, 01:53 PM   #10
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We are in similar climate and salt conditions, even the ones with minor rust have alot more rust than you see at first. I spent a couple hours in bus yard. I decided to look further south. They don't wash the salt off them in the frozen North so all the little nooks and crannies underneath collect it and start rusting.
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Old 05-11-2018, 03:03 PM   #11
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Where in Canada? Our bus cam from Washington...has zero rust. There are 15 late '90 model Thomas 40' RE's to be auctioned off up here in AK, mid August. I looked at them a couple months ago. Rust free.
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Old 05-11-2018, 03:31 PM   #12
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buy a west coast (WA, OR, CA) my Oregon bus has zero rust. that looks like too much to deal with.
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Old 05-11-2018, 06:32 PM   #13
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It's trash.

You could spend countless hours polishing a turd and in the end you would have a turd.
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Old 05-11-2018, 07:29 PM   #14
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It's trash.

You could spend countless hours polishing a turd and in the end you would have a turd.
ACamper - tell us how you REALLY feel about it - don't hold back!

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Old 05-11-2018, 08:01 PM   #15
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ACamper - tell us how you REALLY feel about it - don't hold back!

[Gotta love a straight answer...]
Ha itís true though. A turd is a turd is a turd.
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Old 05-11-2018, 08:03 PM   #16
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Where in Canada? Our bus cam from Washington...has zero rust. There are 15 late '90 model Thomas 40' RE's to be auctioned off up here in AK, mid August. I looked at them a couple months ago. Rust free.
Washington is somewhat close. We live in Alberta. Seattle is a 12-13 hour drive.
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Old 05-11-2018, 08:05 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Whatthefak View Post
We are in similar climate and salt conditions, even the ones with minor rust have alot more rust than you see at first. I spent a couple hours in bus yard. I decided to look further south. They don't wash the salt off them in the frozen North so all the little nooks and crannies underneath collect it and start rusting.
Thanks for the info - bet youíre right and this bus is the same.
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Old 05-11-2018, 09:37 PM   #18
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Man, if the school system is throwing it out early due to rust, that has got to tell you something.
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Old 05-11-2018, 09:38 PM   #19
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While the body panel rust is bad enough I noticed there were no pictures of the frame and chassis under the bus.

In order to stop the rust the only way to do it is to cut it out and replace it.

Even though the cost is only $1K you are going to be spending $$$$$ and many hours cutting, replacing, and converting just the sheet metal. If the frame or chassis is rusty it falls into the "it just isn't worth it even if it were free" category.

Go to WA, ID, MT, or WY and find a rust free bus. It may cost $3K-$5K but it will be cheaper in the long run.

The only caveat to that would be if the running gear of the $1K bus was your dream power package. By purchasing a running bus it makes it much easier to transplant the whole power package into something else.

With newer electronically controlled engines and transmissions it requires the whole wiring harness, the ECM, and the TCM to make the power package work in something else.
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Old 05-11-2018, 10:02 PM   #20
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Washington is somewhat close. We live in Alberta. Seattle is a 12-13 hour drive.
Washington and Oregon are great places to get a bus. Worth the "short hop".
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